Top 3 Reasons Why Fraternity Formals Should No Longer Be Held in Gatlinburg, TN

Top 3 Reasons Why Fraternity Formals Should No Longer Be Held in Gatlinburg, TN

The once safe-haven and perfect host spot has become hostile and unwelcoming.
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At most colleges, it has become a tradition over the years to pack up the freshly primed, painted, sealed and filled coolers in order to travel across state lines for fraternity formals. The locations of these formals are always rented for several days and often take place anywhere from the beach, to the mountains, lakes, or even as far as Canada.

Fraternities at Miami University are no exception.

For several years now, nearly all Miami fraternities have trekked a majority of their members and their chosen dates each spring to the Great Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg, TN. The area was always one that was safest for fraternity members and their dates, as they once they were there they did not have to drive. It was always convenient, as there are many resorts which can provide multiple cabins in close proximity to one another for the large group. Gatlinburg was just far enough away, with a beautiful view, to create an almost vacation-like atmosphere. However, these luxuries that Gatlinburg once was able to provide for fraternity formals is now no longer the case.

Over the past few years, many fraternities at Miami University have either chosen to change the location of their formals, or at least have considered doing so. This is due to the large number of growing issues that have arisen while Miami fraternity formals were taking place. Evictions, extreme costs for minor damages, noise violations, purposeful separation of fraternity cabins by the resort coordinators and aggression from police officers have created an increasingly hostile environment for fraternity members and their dates.

The most baffling of all issues that have arisen with the chosen location of Gatlinburg was the eviction of all cabins on Saturday evening during Phi Delt's formal (which I was a guest at) just this past weekend. The reason was not made abundantly clear as to why every single cabin rented by the fraternity was evicted, though some cabins were actually empty and/or causing no trouble for the resort. However, they did make it clear that everyone had 20 minutes to remove their things from the cabins and leave.

This was absolutely appalling, not because I am claiming there was no right to evict the cabins, because I will be the first to say that I am not sure if there was or not, but because this eviction took place on Saturday evening around 7:30 p.m. when the resort knew well that many of the members of the fraternity and their dates had been drinking throughout the course of the day. The options the fraternity members now had was not as simple as if just one cabin had been evicted, where the consequences were only as steep as a fine and uncomfortable sleeping arrangements on the floor of another cabin for the night. They were now left having to find a place to stay for the night, a way to get there, and calling their parents to let them know what was all happening -- all within a mere 20 minutes to handle the situation.

The Gatlinburg resort blatantly told the fraternity members not to drink and drive, yet they still put them in a situation where there was a lot of pressure to do so from the money constraints of now having to pay for a hotel and cab, as well as the strict time constraints they ordered. During the next 20 minutes, police officers were yelling at the fraternity members and their dates to hurry, stood outside the cabins, and made the overall environment of the situation heavily more hostile, despite the fact the members and their dates were entirely compliant.

Meanwhile, a few cabins away, another Miami fraternity formal was being held. There, the police came and aggressively gave noise complaints to the members of the fraternity, and threatened eviction of all cabins for them as well. They were not kind, welcoming, or in any way creating the traditionally chosen formal location of Gatlinburg to be a "resort."

Overall, I have a hard time believing I'm the only person extremely dissatisfied with the environment that Gatlinburg, Tennessee has come to offer for fraternity formals. The once-loved location offered so much for the members and their dates to have a wonderful weekend away from Oxford, Ohio, yet now creates nearly nothing but hostility. I think it's time that all fraternities take the step many already have, and relocate their formals next spring to somewhere entirely more welcoming, accommodating and less stressful. You only have four years in college, and therefore, four years in which you can enjoy formal with your fraternity; there's no reason it should be anything less than a resort.

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

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Why Anti-Abortion Laws Are Unconstitutional And God Does Not Support Them

Former pro-life supporter's take on choice.

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As a former pro-life woman raised in a conservative Southern Baptist home, I am sad and enraged at the recent anti-abortion bills and laws that have been passed.

Not only are these laws unconstitutional, but many supporters of anti-abortion legislation justify their beliefs in the name God.

Over the past year, Alabama, Mississippi, Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas, Utah, Iowa, and Missouri have all passed anti-abortion legislation and Louisiana, South Carolina, West Virginia, Florida, and Texas are all currently working to pass anti-abortion laws.

These attempts at limiting the freedoms of American women are a direct attack against the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade and the United States Constitution.

The Supreme Court ruled that Americans' right to privacy included the right of a woman to decide whether to have children and the right of a woman and her doctor to make that decision without state interference. Many anti-abortion politicians are hoping this new legislation will overturn Roe v. Wade.

Many politicians and supporters of anti-abortion legislation justify their beliefs in the name of their religion.

In fact, Alabama Governor Ivey signed the law saying it "stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians' deeply held belief that every life is precious, that every life is a sacred gift from God."

As many of us know, the United States Constitution calls for a separation of church and state. This statement made by Governor Ivey sure sounds like religion was a big part of his decision.

Limited access to birth control, abortion, and contraceptives are not new concepts. Religious institutions have supported limited access because they believe sex outside of marriage is wrong.

There is nothing wrong with this belief, but there is something wrong with projecting these personal and religious beliefs onto others--especially when it takes away their right to personal freedom.

As a former pro-life believer, I never truly thought of the millions of women affected by unwanted pregnancies. I was only focused on what God would want me to think about the issue.

The Bible never directly addresses the issue of abortion; however, it does say "Thou shalt not kill." The Bible also includes many murders committed in the name of God and many more contradictions throughout the entire scripture.

According to the Bible, life begins at birth--when a baby draws its first breath.

The bible defines life as "breath" in several significant passages, including the story of Adam's creation in Genesis 2:7, when God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

Jewish law traditionally considers that personhood begins at birth. So now that we've cleared up when life begins, abortion is a fundamental, Constitutional right.

Throughout history, women have been patronized and forced into submission by misogynistic men who believe they have God's given right to make decisions that concern women.

This is downright wrong! We are living in a new world where women are no longer owned by their guardians--a world where women have the right to make decisions about their own bodies.

Women are inherently responsible for any baby they choose to bring into this world, men are not. Therefore, men have no right to speak on behalf of what decisions women legally have the right to make.

You may disagree with abortion, and that's OK. No one is forcing you to get one. But yes, I deserve to have the right to get any medical procedure done if I believe that's the best thing for myself. God believes in freedom of choice and so should you.

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